Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is Kathleen Parker's evil underrated?

In a wee-hours Twitter rant this morning, after discussing whether the University of Alabama's No. 2 poll ranking was fair (it's OK, and the ranking will take care of itself if the Tide upsets the No. 1 Gators next Saturday), I shared my 2009 Evil Top 10 rankings:
Evil rankings are indisputable: 1. Satan. 2. Auburn.
-- rsmccain

No. 3 is a tie between Charles Johnson and Osama bin Laden
-- rsmccain

Which makes Fidel Castro No. 5, David Brooks No. 6, Kim Jong Il, No. 7, Charles Manson No. 8
-- rsmccain

10th Place (tie): Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kathleen Parker
-- rsmccain
Naturally, this brought protests: What about Maureen Dowd?

Too bad. This year, Maureen Dowd got knocked off the Top 10 Evil list!
-- rsmccain

No, Kathleen Parker clearly managed to out-evil Dowd this year. Decisions of the judges are final.
-- rsmccain
Today, however, as if she had anticipated her emergence into the Evil Top 10, Kathleen Parker's column appeared on Memeorandum with the headline, "Ten 'principles' could keep thinkers away from the GOP." For some bizarre reason, the column itself has a different headline: "The GOP's Suicide pact," and begins:
Some people can't stand prosperity, my father used to say. Today, he might be talking about Republicans, who, in the midst of declining support for President Obama's hope-and-change agenda, are considering a "purity" pledge to weed out undesirables from their ever-shrinking party.
Just when independents and moderates were considering revisiting the GOP tent. . . .
All of which is in reaction to a proposed resolution -- note the emphasis -- that circulated via e-mail last week among Republican National Committee members. The fact that it was first reported by MSNBC tells you where Kathleen Parker gets her news nowadays, and look how the pro-Obama cable network framed the issue:
This comes on the heels of a rift in the party that was exposed in the once-obscure special election in Upstate New York's 23rd Congressional District, in which national conservative leaders, including Sarah Palin, clashed with national establishment Republicans. The so-called GOP civil war threatens to derail moderate Republican candidacies in heated 2010 Republican primaries already underway. Florida's Senate race is perhaps the best and most prominent example.
For the past year, the mere mention of "Sarah Palin" has been enough to inspire Sully-esque ranting by Kathleen Parker, and she does not disappoint:
The list apparently evolved in response to the Republican loss in the recent congressional race in Upstate New York, when liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava withdrew from the race under pressure from conservatives and endorsed Democrat Bill Owens, who won. Republicans had held that seat for more than a century.
James Bopp Jr., chief sponsor of the resolution and a committee member from Indiana, has said that "the problem is that many conservatives have lost trust in the conservative credentials of the Republican Party."
Actually, no, the problem is that many conservatives have lost faith in the ability of Republican leaders to think. The resolutions aren't so much statements of principle as dogmatic responses to complex issues that may, occasionally, require more than a Sharpie check in a little square.
And the pièce de résistance of Parkeresque evil:
The old elite corps of the conservative movement, men such as William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk, undoubtedly would find this attitude both dangerous and bizarre. When did thinking go out of style? . . .
As Kirk wrote in his own "Ten Conservative Principles," conservatism "possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata . . . conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order."
You can be sure that when some latter-day elitist like Kathleen Parker cites Kirk and Buckley, the citation will always be used against conservatives. The elitist versions of Kirk and Buckley are revisionist mannequins, shorn of any unfashionable populism so as to obscure the fact that the conservatism of yore -- when Buckley defended Joe McCarthy and helped inspire the conservative insurgency that made AuH2O the Republican nominee in 1964 -- was thoroughly disdained by the soi-dissant elite of that time.

By the way, it is a myth that Republicans had held the 23rd District seat for more than a century. But Parker's elitist prejudice and her second-hand misperception of the Hoffman campaign derive from the same source: A willingness to accept at face value the spin delivered by the MSM, a gullibility that derives from a belief that conservative media are somehow inferior to their liberal counterparts.

And even though she doesn't mention Sarah Palin in this column, we know who was the target of Parker's ire. It was the hockey mom from Wasilla whose endorsement generated a one-day $116,000 haul for the Hoffman campaign. This is why Parker and other Palin-haters have so vehemently insisted that Hoffman is some sort of far-right extremist.

Parker makes a big point of arguing for intellectual nuance, when she's the one reacting viscerally to even the slightest evidence that the Republican Party might embrace a Palin-style populism.

Well, 2009 is not over yet. At least Charles Manson remains safely behind bars and Ahmadinejad has been quiet lately. Kathleen Parker's evil ranking may require re-appraisal.

(P.S.: If you're wondering why the Gators didn't rate inclusion in my 2009 Evil Top 10, it's because their evil is a transitory phenomenon. If Alabama beats Florida next Saturday, their evil will be vanquished, whereas Auburn is permanently evil.)


  1. 'The Devils's greatest trick was convincing the world that he did not exist.'

    Or at least convincing the State of Alabama that he was not Nick Saban.

    So, top of the list for y'all.


  2. I'm assuming "War Eagle March" isn't your ringtone.....

  3. There is evil, than there is stupid, Kathleen follows the latter course, whereas following her advice would lead to the former consequence

  4. Buckley also famously, and successfully, supported Joe Lieberman over then senator Lowell Weicker (nominally Republican) because he thought the former would be less hostile to conservatives than the latter.

  5. I really do get sick and tired of non-conservative Republicans [such as Mzzz. Parker] digging up Russell Kirk's body to use him to make points that Mr. Kirk would not agrre with in any way. I have read almost all of his non-fiction and I consider him my top American conservative mentor. And I can tell you he would not have appeciated being used in this way by idealogues such as Mzzz. Parker.

  6. I linked you in a post of my own nominations based on yours. I propose slot #2 be a wild card to allow for individual customization -- or do you consider that moral relativism?

  7. Purity Pledge?
    Can we just start with them not selling our progeny to pirates? That seems reasonable enough.

  8. Come on, Republicans, stand up like adults with some spine and add a few more principles.

    11. We oppose socialized medicine and seek, as advocated by Reagan and Goldwater, the repeal of Medicare and Medicaid.

    12. We oppose socialized retirement and renew the calls of our conservative leadership (in 1930's) to repeal Social Security.

    13. We oppose socialized education and believe the parents, not the government, should decide where or if to send their school to children by repealing mandatory K-12.

    These are all logical and inevitable extensions of a conservative philosophy and should be clearly articulated.

  9. Careful folks, don't do too much thinkin' now.

  10. Mr. McCain, does it hurt you deep down in your soul that you know that Auburn was the better team yesterday? And that Tennessee was the better team, too? I learned by watching the Tide that moral victories count...

    Honestly, that was the #1 Heisman candidate? He wasn't even the 4th best RB on the field.

    Evil =>
    1 & 2. Al Davis / Satan (tossup)
    3. Alabama
    4 & 5. Andy Sullivan / Lee Corso (tossup)

  11. While I might agree with a good portion of your post, I have to say I'm looking forward to watching Florida beat the snot out of Alabama.

  12. Mr. McCain:

    You are a very smart and entertaining writer, so please stop ruining it by displaying your appalling taste in college football teams. The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa is the Al Gore of college football - pompous, dishonest, greedy, and thoroughly disgusting.

  13. It was WFB and his crew that penetrated the Southland and the Western prairies and helped convince many a redneck and rancher that the conservative cause and the Republican Party were their natural home. He saw in their independent spirits the kind of spirit he possessed. While he enjoyed hosting and attending cocktail parties in New York, he also understood that the average Joe and Jane were the backbone of The Republic. Hence his famous quip about his preference for being ruled by the first two hundred names in the phone book than by the elitist university educated types.

    Quoted from and Linked to at: